As you may know, an Arduino is an open-source platform that’s based on user-friendly electronic hardware and software. It consists of software and a physical circuit board that’s programmable, and is mostly referred to as a microcontroller. Additionally, and Arduino also has an IDE, an Integrated Development Environment that lights up your computer.
The IDE can also be used to write and upload computer codes to the physical board. And because of such capabilities, Arduino boards are capable of lighting on a sensor, read inputs, activate a motor, and sending electronic commands, among other functions.
But for this to happen, you’ll have to use the Arduino IDE software, based on Processing, and the Arduino programming language, which is based on Wiring.
Arduino has been at core of many different projects, whether basic or those that require complex scientific understanding for quite some time now. Its open-source nature has attracted a worldwide community of makers ranging from students to professionals.
Initially, Arduino was designed as a user-friendly and fast prototyping tool for students who lacked a background in programming and electronics. And because all Arduino boards are open-source, you can build them independently and merge them with their particular needs.
What Does the Arduino Do?
The Arduino software and hardware was designed for developing interactive objects and environments. The following is a list of the different things an Arduino can interact with:
- GPS units
- The internet
- And your Smartphone
Additionally, the Arduino software is free and the hardware boards are fairly affordable. And if that isn’t enough, both the Arduino software and hardware are easy to learn, making it a flexible platform for many users. Such capabilities have made it possible for different users to contribute their codes and instructions for a vast variety of Arduino based projects.
What Makes it More Preferable?
As mentioned earlier, Arduino has been at the core of multiple electronic applications and projects. This is because it offers a straightforward and intuitive interface capable of being used by both beginners and advanced users. The platform offers ample flexibility with its ability to be used on Windows, Linux, and even Mac.
Many learning institutions use to build budget-friendly scientific instruments, and prove different principles in physics and chemistry. Additionally, those in entertainment such as artists and musicians use Arduino to experiment on new musical instruments. Lastly, architects and engineers use Arduino to build interactive prototypes.
But what contributes to this platform’s increase in usability in many industries? Let’s find out. The following are some of the major contributing factors that make Arduino one of the most preferred tools for creating different kinds of electronic projects:
Affordable – Affordability is the number one advantage of owning this microcontroller board. Moreover, it doesn’t sacrifice quality assurance to minimize the buying price. Even a pre-assembled Arduino costs less than $60, making it fairly affordable compared other microcontroller boards. You always get a fair deal with Arduino, whereby you are assured of its durability.
Open Source Software – This is another major contributing factor to the Arduino’s liking. Its open source nature puts Arduino out there for extension by advanced programmers. Besides that, beginners get to have an easy time to learn and code their commands by simply following step-by-step instructions.
Highly Compatible – Arduino is a cross-platform, meaning you can use it with multiple operating systems such as Windows, Mac, Linux, and OSX. If unaware, not many microcontroller platforms are compatible with Windows operating system, which has multiple users worldwide. This gives Arduino a cutting edge from other microcontroller platforms.
When you have Arduino, you do not have to worry about the operating system you are using as it will be compatible with almost all of them. This cross-platform ability gives users amazing freedom and diversity.
Open Source Hardware – Like the software, Arduino’s hardware is also open source and extensible. Moreover, its boards are licensed under the Creative Commons license. This means that any experienced programmers and circuit designer have the privilege of creating their version of Arduino. Therefore, this platform doesn’t limit creativity of any level, which has been a significant contributor to its growth and development.
User-Friendly – The Arduino board is a simple and clear programming environment for both beginners and advanced designers as well. Its software, the IDE, is conveniently founded on the processing programming area. Therefore, any learners within the programming environment get familiar with the work of Arduino’s IDE.
This ensures that everyone can easily get acquainted with the Arduino board without much hustle. It is very user friendly and anyone with interest will quickly follow how to use it.
How Much Power Does an Arduino Use?
By approximation, an Arduino board consumes about 42 mA assuming that there isn’t any power draw from your system’s sensor or any other component. The board has a minimum supply of 7V, which translates to a power consumption of 0.29W.
Such power consumption limits the Arduino’s capabilities if you want to use it for extended number of days. This is discouraging, especially for those who are into collection of data after some several days or weeks. It would take batteries that possess a higher Watt capacity to facilitate the Arduino board for several days.
For instance, three 2.5 Watt-hours rated, Alkaline double AA batteries would power a sleeping-mode Arduino for approximately 4 days. Typically, you’d want batteries with a higher Watt rating for prolonged productivity from an Arduino.
Starting out with electronics, the Arduino has gained massive popularity and mostly because of good reasons. And unlike other microcontroller platforms, the Arduino doesn’t need a separate piece of hardware for loading new code to the board as you can do it with a USB cable.
Besides that, this platform is user-friendly and offers a vast community of coding, programming, and designing enthusiast a chance to enhance their creativity. With the Arduino, you simply have the opportunity of creating an electronic project and featuring it with your preferred commands.